The National Nutrition Centre is seeking to sensitize young Barbadians about the importance of healthy eating. In fact, it’s an objective being pursued at this year’s National Nutrition Summer Camp, sponsored by the Government agency.
When Barbados TODAY paid a visit to the camp on Tuesday, the participants, mostly school children enjoying the summer holidays, were busy learning how to use the locally-made Carmeta’s brand of gluten free flour to make various pastries.
Community Nutrition Officer, Andrea Griffith, pointed to worrying statistics on the number of Barbadian youth affected with either juvenile obesity or hypertension, some being diagnosed as early as nine years old.
She explained that being diagnosed at such an early age placed such persons at a possibly higher risk for having a heart attack or stroke in their twenties.
“Right now, we have one third of our childhood population being obese. So, our aim is to reduce that. Our nine and ten-year olds are suffering greatly from hypertension and there is no reason why our nine and ten-year olds should be suffering from hypertension,” Griffith told Barbados TODAY.
“If you are having hypertension at nine and ten years old, then I believe that even before twenty and thirty years old, if it is not properly controlled, they can have a heart attack or a stroke.”
To combat the high incidence of obesity and hypertension, Griffith said the mission of the National Nutrition Centre was promoting healthy eating.
“We encourage healthy living not only in the adult population. We don’t want to wait until persons have non-communicable diseases, we want to nip it in the bud and introduce children to healthier cooking methods.”
The campers were very receptive to the training they received and at the end of the cooking session, they patiently waited for the pastries to cool, so that they could savour the fruits of their labour.